VIDEO: Seal Hunt Watch 2011 - Cruelty at Every Turn

A Canadian sealer dragging a harp seal across the frozen waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. The International Fund for Animal Welfare seal hunt observation team was downed by bad weather again today, so we used the time to go through yesterday’s footage on a large screen, noting all of the horrific details.

We knew that yesterday we’d seen some pretty awful stuff, but from 1000 ft in the air and looking through a 4x6” monitor, it’s (almost mercifully) difficult to see the details. In full blown, high-definition, the cruelty of Canada’s commercial seal hunt is much, much worse.

Our first shot of the day was captured when we were still several miles away. As the first boat we came into view, we could distinguish the figure of a man with a hakapik on the ice – active seal hunting – so we headed there as fast as we could.

Two of sealers from the vessel Noah Matheson were out on the ice goofing around. One appeared to be posing with a ragged jacket seal pup while the other took a photo, they then switched positions.  And after having their fun, they picked up the pup by the hind flippers, swung it back and forth a few times and threw it roughly onto the ice. As the hapless pup scrambled away, I wondered what sort of a person would do such a thing? Suddenly the sealers took off on a run chasing after a nearby adult seal.  They slipped on the ice and swung at it wildly with their hakapik as it escaped into the slush. Now I was really wondering: what kind of person would possibly try to club a 600 lb, adult harp seal with a hakapik? Not only illegal but incredibly dangerous and, quite frankly, stupid.

The images we captured continued with the same unfortunate themes: boats crushing seal pups in the ice, gaffing seals without checking for unconciousness, even when it was completely possible to do so. Seals shot at but still alive, clenching and writhing in pain on the ice. Piles of carcasses discarded on the ice – completely contradicting the Canadian government’s claims that this is a “full-utilization” hunt. Seals injured but “struck and lost” as the boat’s movements pushed them into the slushy ice. Sealers swinging wildly with their hakapiks at the side of a pup’s face rather than directly on the cranium. Seals were shot, clubbed, sliced, and skinned, but rarely was the “three-step process” of stunning, checking for unconsciousness, and bleeding out to ensure death being conducted.

On day one our team captured footage of a seal pup, slit down the belly, waving and clenching its front flipper as other bodies were piled on top of it in the bottom or a skiff.

We thought nothing could be worse. We were wrong.

In reviewing our footage, we watched the sealing vessel Makin Waves bear down on two pups, one that had been shot, the other that was still very much alive and looking around. We expected the pups to be crushed under the hull. Then we watched in horror as one of the men on the boat reached down and jabbed the live pup with his long handled gaff. The frightened pup whirled and snapped at the gaff, trying to bite at it in self defense. But she didn’t stand a chance. With another swing, the sealer slammed the steel hook into the little pup’s face, and lifted her up into the boat.  There was absolutely no question as to what we were seeing: here was a live, conscious, seal pup being brutally hooked through her eye socket and lifted into a boat.

Of course this is not legal – but with no enforcement presence in the area, had we not captured this with our camera who would ever know? And if sealers were comfortable hooking live animals when they were aware of our presence, what were they doing when they weren’t being watched?

Documenting the atrocities of Canada’s commercial seal hunt is a difficult and, admittedly, an expensive undertaking. But if IFAW were not here to bear witness to the deaths of these pups, no one would know the truth.  But thanks to our supporters, we are able to gather the indisputable evidence that this slaughter is cruel, unnecessary, and wasteful. IFAW will continue to use this evidence to close markets for seal products around the world, and to work with political leaders in Canada until the commercial seal hunt is ended for good.

-- SF

Take action to help the International Fund for Animal Welfare stop this senseless slaughter at http://www.ifaw.org/seals

Comments: 28

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

This is the height of cowardice and cruelty. Anyone who could hurt and kill these innocent creatures in this manner are sick in the head, it's that simple. Canada is responsible for this disgusting, sickening murder and they had better do something real fast to save their image as a civilized country.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Oh man, I cannot believe I watched that. It's so cruel and heart breaking to witness that. :C

To all the sealers and especially the Canadian Government, I hope that Karma will come your way SOONER rather than later!

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

How many sealers don't follow the regulations? 10 percent? 50 percent? 90 percent?

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

[...] spring for the last 10 years, I have been on the East Coast to document the commercial seal hunt. Each year, I must steel myself against the government misinformation, the false accusations [...]

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Despite growing opposition worldwide, Canada is bent upon continuing the senseless massacre of seals. Perhaps they have made it a prestige issue. Why killing of seals, who are defenseless and don't understand our language and human issues, be made prestige issue by the Canadian government. Even countries that don't have animal welfare laws don't show such stubbornness like Canada. So much has been written about the cruelty involved in killing of seals, so many people have voiced their anguish. But Canada government thinks their false prestige will be harmed if they take the right and compassionate decision to stop slaughter of seals. This also shows how defenseless the animals are before cruel humans bent upon destroying them.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

You hav no heart or soul. To defend this cruelty for any reason is without defense. Shame on you. Grow up and try to find compassion for other living creatures.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Many People who watch these videos do not see the full truth. i was onboard one of these vessels while these helicopters flew over over heads. They stop a lot of the footage before sealers are finished and show only what they want. They also talk about one video where the seals head is almost completely gone and they say how the sealer isnt touching it to see if its unconcious lol. Come on people they head was gone and nothing left to touch. Use common sense. These are hard working people trying to survive and make a living.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

It is downright cruel and unacceptable. Give up these acts which are not really essential for the survival of the nation. Make the world a less cruel place for innocent animals. Let them enjoy the freedom which we consider as a matter of right.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

may the perpetrators of these vicious crimes be on the receiving end in the next life.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I used to be a proud Canadian, that feeling ended many years ago.

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